8th grader foils NSA’s plan

Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eighth-grader Adrienne Motley dealt with Nansemond-Suffolk’s double-team defense by getting to the one spot on the court no one could guard her.

In the first round of the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools Tournament, No. 4 Hampton Roads defeated visiting No. 5 NSA 46-33.

Motley, HRA’s prodigy, led the Tidewater Conference in scoring this season at 24.6 points per game.

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NSA did its best to contain Motley by double-teaming the slender guard with deep shooting range wherever she went and whether she had the ball or not.

The defensive plan worked for awhile, but Motley wound up pouring in 26 points with 14-of-16 shooting at the foul line being the best way Motley found to negate the Lady Saints’ efforts.

Through the opening half, NSA’s triangle-and-two against Motley didn’t shut down HRA’s best player, but it took HRA’s offense out of rhythm.

NSA held HRA without a field goal for the first three minutes and buckets by Virginia Hassell and Kelsey Ritter were enough for a 4-1 lead.

The first period ended with a 10-10 score. Motley manufactured another way to beat NSA’s gameplan, by getting steals and attacking the offensive end before NSA could organize its defense.

Two such plays by Motley resulted in four made free throws and a 16-12 HRA lead with 5:00 left in the half.

The fouls against Motley equaled foul trouble for the Lady Saints. With one of NSA’s three starting guards, Morgan Newhall, out injured, and NSA’s bench usually going only two or three players deep in most games this season, foul trouble hurt NSA the remainder of the way.

A pair of three-pointers by Hassell equaled six of the eight points NSA managed in the second period. HRA led 23-18 at halftime.

While NSA’s defense continued doing a strong job, even making things tough against Motley, turnovers meant NSA’s offense never got going.

HRA led 37-25 going to the fourth period and HRA took the lead to 42-25 on one of three three-pointers by Motley.

Three straight baskets by Grace Saunders, all in the lane, brought NSA within shouting distance, 42-31, with just under five minutes left. Saunders missed most of the first half with foul trouble. By the end of the game, NSA’s two leading scorers and best ball-handlers, Hassell and Jenna Starkey, had fouled out.

Hassell, only a freshman herself, and Ritter, a sophomore, had the assignment against Motley most of the game.

After Saunders’ run, the four-vs.-three defense allowed HRA to stall successfully during the next three minutes of play.

Hampton Roads finished with, mostly thanks to Motley, a big advantage at the foul line which equated to a 20-5 scoring advantage on the night.

Hassell led the Lady Saints (9-13) with 11 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Saunders had eight points and six rebounds.